Google is expanding its presence in the second populous country of the world by introducing apps specific to India. Google introduced a new language-learning app called Bolo, which is targeted to be used for the elementary school aged kids to learn in English and Hindi.
Included with Google’s speech recognition and text-to-speech technologies, the app currently offers 50 stories in English and 40 stories in Hindi provided by Storyweaver.org.in. and as company says new partners will join the app to increase the catalog of story selection.
The App has a assistant named Diya which helps to learn and encourages students when they read and all the data is saved only on the device to keep kids privacy. Diya can read the words and explain the meaning of the English words.
The app includes games as a part of learning which helps kids earn app rewards to motivate them with badges, Bolo works offline which is necessity as internet access is not always available in some areas of India.
Google said that they travelled across 200 villages of Uttar Pradesh, India with the help of nonprofit ASER Centre, where they let the kids learn with the Bolo app and had found a major improvement in 64% of the kids’ reading proficiency in just three months of time. Google says, to run the pilot 920 children were given the app and 600 were in a control group without the app participating in ASER’s reading assessment.
Literacy is a major problem of India as the ASER’s study says that 74 percent of all the people in the country are able to read and it also reports that more than half of the kids in fifth grade are not able to read text books of second grade in rural areas as of 2014 and the numbers haven’t changed much in 2018.